04/26/2012 United States (Charisma) - The Air Force and its Secretary, Michael B. Donley, have created the most hostile "anti-religious" environment in the history of the United States military. So says the American Family Association (AFA).
Under Donley, the AFA argues, Air Force leaders have repeatedly caved to the demands of a small band of rebels who call themselves the Military Association of Atheists & Freethinkers (MAAF).
In early February, a cockpit atheist in Kadena Airbase in Japan contacted MAAF to ask why there was a Bible posted in Air Force lodging. The Air Force responded by removing Bibles from its list of items that are provided in approved lodging facilities. The AFA is concerned that this will eventually lead to the removal of Bibles from Air Base hotels or any hotel that does business with the Air Force.
The Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty is also concerned. Col. Ron Crews, executive director for the Chaplain Alliance, notes that military personnel have taken counsel, received comfort and been encouraged by biblical texts from Gen. George Washington until today.
“These Bibles cost the Air Force nothing, and their presence is legally legitimate,” Crews says. “Therefore, no reason exists for the Air Force to retreat in the face of the small anti-religious group that demanded removal of the books.”
Crews also noted that other faith groups have also provided religious materials, such as the Quran.
“While there is no requirement to have them in the checklist, why should they be removed because of the demands of a small activist group?” asks Crews. “They are provided free of charge as a service. No airman is required to pick one up or read it. The Bibles are merely there to use if desired.”
Of course, the Bible incident isn’t the only example of the Air Force creating an anti-religious environment for its airmen. In February, the Air Force removed the word “God” from the logo of its Rapid Capabilities office after receiving a threatening letter from the MAAF.
What’s more, last November the Air Force Academy dropped Operation Christmas Child after a single complaint from an atheist group. The Air Force apologized to the atheists and ordered chaplains to no longer use official mail to promote the charity. And last August, the Air Force removed Bible verses from a military course taught to nuclear missile officers—the ones who push the launch button, again due to MAAF pressure.
“Under Secretary Donley, the Air Force has become an easy target for atheists, because they know he and the Air Force will cave to their anti-religious, anti-Christian demands without a fight,” says Tim Wildmon, president of the AFA.